JUL 24, 2020 – 6:48 PM
Puigdemont signs the declaration of independence in Parliament. Massimiliano MINOCRI
“We had nothing ready”, this phrase from the former Puigdemont does nothing more than confirm what is already well known: that the declaration of independence of 27-O was frivolous with serious consequences. Benevolent interpretations have said that the pro-independence leaders confused what was a starting point (the accumulation of political capital symbolized by the October 1 referendum) with the point of arrival (the materialization of independence).
Puigdemont confirms what we all already knew: the declaration of independence was not responsible. Why was it done?
Puigdemont’s book (and the dissemination of the message he had recorded in case he was arrested) makes it clear that there was no deception but impotence, that there was a perfect awareness that the minimum necessary instruments were not available for independence to be operational, nor only to enter into open confrontation with the state apparatus. There was evidence. It had been said and repeated many times before the fall of 2017: without an overwhelming majority, without coercive capacity (neither police nor judicial), without insurrectionary power, with the economic elites against it and without international support, the declaration was a toast in the sun, liable to have tragic consequences. And yet, it was done, without anyone being able to give a rational explanation of why. Independence was proclaimed and it was dispersion. Not even the government came together again. Not everyone attended the Palau convocation, and then everyone had their own camp. And the citizenship went home. Upon awakening, article 155 was already operational.
It would be sad to have to point it out in the psychopathology of related political rivalries. Puigdemont lacked the courage and authority to break the fabulation. Although, in fact, it was already broken: the vast majority knew the outcome perfectly; in fact, Saturday October 28 was probably the calmest day in the city of Barcelona since the last week of September. The alibi is that the repressive response would have been the same with proclamation or without. The Spanish Government -in the hands of the impassive Rajoy- did not want to give any guarantee. But before a call for elections it would not have been easy to apply 155.
In any case, the lightness of making a decision for which he was not prepared, has been paid dearly by those responsible and has brought the country into a long hangover. Three years of repression, frustration and wear and tear, with no clear strategic horizon in sight. In between, the pandemic has finished damaging the scenario, with a worn out government that has wanted to present itself as the first of its kind in managing the health crisis, ending up trapped like everyone else. So right now on the political agenda and on the electoral horizon, along with the fate of the independence project, is the health crisis, the economic and educational crisis. And in this scenario, the ritual ejaculation is not enough: we would only do better.
The independence movement confused a starting point, 1-O, with the arrival point, materializing the Republic
October 1 was not an imperative mandate of the citizenry, but the initial moment of a process that needs time to reach an unquestionable majority. And patience has little federative power before the sectors that continue to feed the fantasies of unilateral rupture. There is a common point between unionism and independence: the former have been announcing the decline and demobilization of independence each season (they have been wrong since 2012 and still insist) and a sector of the latter continues to fantasize about an imminent crisis that will sink Spain and it will open the gates of independence wide. Not long before the Catalan elections. Once again, both sides will be frustrated: independence will still be, confirming its electoral strength, and the epiphanic moment will not come yet either. All this forces one to ask: is there someone within the independence movement with enough authority to lift the taboo, said that the maximum program is not the order of the day and offer an integrating project that generates sharable spaces for economic, social and political reconstruction in which at least the commons and the socialists do not feel alien? Or will independence continue to be trapped in the promise that the conditions to embody it do not come or exist, while the country stagnates between frustration and melancholy? Do politics, gentlemen, that rhetoric and complacency are already tiring.